Newsletter | May 2023

Download a text-only version of this newsletter

Peer Group Events

Peer groups provide an organized environment for people to encourage, advocate and educate one another. Peer Group events are being held both in-person and virtually.

Peer Group Calendar

Save the Date & Please Support DNMM on May 2nd!

Give Local Midland is a 24-hour online giving campaign for local nonprofit endowment funds. The Midland Area Community Foundation is raising money and awareness for over 50 Midland nonprofits that do incredible and inspiring work in our community. Join us on May 2nd and give where you live during Give Local Midland.

DNMM has provided independent living support services to people with disabilities throughout the mid-Michigan area for over 30 years. As we look to the next 30 years and beyond, we see an ever-increasing demand for services with an ever-tightening grip on state and federal funding. We need to ensure DNMM will always be there to help people with disabilities achieve and maintain their independence. With your support, we can continue creating accessible and inclusive communities.

How can you help?

1. Mark Give Local Midland on your calendar for May 2nd and share this donation page link with your friends, family, and co-workers!

2. Please make a donation to support us on Tuesday, May 2nd. Gifts given that day will receive a portion of bonus funds – making your dollar go further!

3. Help us spread the word! Follow us on Facebook. Follow us on Instagram. Follow the hashtag #GiveLocalMidland to see the buzz. We can't wait to celebrate the difference your generosity will make for our community!

Give Local Midland is Tuesday, May 2nd.

The event lasts for 24 hours – from 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM.

Donate Here on May 2nd!

Mental Health Awareness Month

Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental health condition. Disability Network of Mid-Michigan supports the idea that all people are deserving of support, resources, fulfillment and a community that cares – no matter what they look like, where they are in their journey, or what they are or aren’t able to do.

For 2023, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) theme is “More Than Enough.” The goal is to uplift the mental health community so that they can feel empowered, can combat stigma and get involved – so they can feel they are “more than enough.” 

Share your story or learn about others at

Sign up for NAMI’s federal advocacy alerts at 

What is a Mental Health Condition?

A mental health condition, or mental illness, refers to a set of symptoms that have been identified by the mental health community. People with mental health conditions deal with changes in emotions, thinking, and/or behavior. For some, this means extreme and unexpected changes in mood – like feeling much more sad or worried than usual. For others, it means not thinking clearly, pulling away from friends and activities you used to enjoy, or hearing voices that others do not. No matter what kind of mental health condition someone is facing, it's always possible to recover.

When to Get Help

Many people struggle with not feeling “sick enough” to seek help early on in their mental health journey. The average delay between symptom onset and treatment is 11 years, meaning a lot of people spend months or years facing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis. It is never too early to seek treatment – if you want help for your mental health, you deserve to get it.

StayWell Program

The Stay Well program provides emotional support to Michiganders who have experienced mental health impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that everyone’s been touched by the pandemic in some way, and Stay Well was created to help promote resilience and healing.

  • Webinars and online workshops
  • Weekly discussion groups
  • Individual crisis counseling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Helpful videos, wellness brochures and items, and emotional health helplines

Learn More...

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Too many people are experiencing suicidal crises or mental health-related distress without the support and care they need, and sadly the pandemic only made a bad situation worse relating to mental health and wellness.

Now, people can call or text 988 or chat at for themselves, of if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. No matter where you live in the U.S., 988 can get you in touch with a trained counselor who can help people experiencing mental health-related distress, such as

  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Mental health or substance use crisis, or
  • Any other kind of emotional distress

The 988 Lifeline provides help, hope and healing for thousands of people every day.

Vaccine Assistance

Many older adults and people with disabilities may have substantial challenges accessing vaccinations and boosters. Disability Network Mid-Michigan can help! 

Contact us if you need assistance with:

  • Scheduling a COVID-19 or influenza vaccine or booster appointment
  • Transportation to a vaccine/booster appointment
  • Access to an in-home vaccination or booster
  • Companion support during your vaccine/booster appointment

How to know if you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19

You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines when you have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and got the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC.

  • If you have completed your primary series—but are not yet eligible for a booster—you are also considered up to date.
  • If you become ill with COVID-19 after you received all COVID-19 vaccine doses recommended for you, you are also considered up to date. You do not need to be revaccinated or receive an additional booster.

People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more here...

Importance of staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters

  • People who are up to date have a lower risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than people who are unvaccinated or who have only received the primary series.
  • Updated COVID-19 boosters can help restore protection that has decreased since the previous vaccination. The updated boosters provide added protection against the recent Omicron subvariants that are more contagious than the previous ones. The recent subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, are very closely related to the original variant, Omicron, with very small differences between itself and the original variant.

Who Should and Should Not Get a Flu Vaccine

People who can get the flu shot:

Flu shots are appropriate for most people.

  • Different flu shots are approved for people of different ages. Everyone should get a vaccine that is appropriate for their age.
  • There are standard-dose inactivated flu vaccines that are approved for people as young as 6 months of age.
  • Some vaccines are only approved for adults. For example, the recombinant flu vaccine is approved for people aged 18 years and older, and the adjuvanted and high-dose inactivated vaccines are approved for people 65 years and older.
  • Pregnant people and people with certain chronic health conditions can get a flu shot.

People who SHOULD NOT get a flu shot include:

  • Children younger than 6 months of age are too young to get a flu shot.
  • People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in a flu vaccine (other than egg proteins) should not get that vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients. 
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine should not get that flu vaccine again and might not be able to receive other influenza vaccines

People who should talk to their health care provider before getting a flu shot:

If you have one of the following conditions, talk with your health care provider to get help deciding whether vaccination is right for you:

  • If you have an allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine, talk to your doctor about your allergy.
  • If you ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralyzing illness, also called GBS), talk to your doctor about your GBS history.
  • If you had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of any other flu vaccine, talk to your health care provider.
  • If you are not feeling well, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

Contact us today to learn more about vaccine support services.  | (989) 835-4041 

Summer STAGES is Back!

Summer is right around the corner, and we are excited to announce the STAGES summer program is back!

Camp Summer STAGES provides various activities throughout the summer focusing on three areas:

1 - Social Skill Building

Hangouts, Team Building, Loons Games and Virtual Activities

2 - Employment

Job Readiness, Workshops, Job Tours and Career Exploration

3 - Recreation

Bike Rides, Kayaking, Nature Walks, Swimming and Fishing

Get ready for another fun-filled summer!

Register Today at 989-835-4041

Nursing Facility Transition Program

We believe people faced with decisions about long-term care should know their options. Through our Community Transition Services program, Disability Network Mid-Michigan provides individuals, regardless of their ability, an opportunity to choose community-based living as a viable alternative to nursing facility residency. The program is open to anyone who resides in a nursing facility, receives Medicaid, and requests to return to their own home or to a more independent living environment. Each situation is based on individual needs and preferences.

Getting Started

Anyone can make a referral – the individual, family member, friend or agency representative – by simply calling our office at 989-835-4041. Once this referral is received, a meeting will be arranged to see if you qualify and to determine your individual barriers to living independently.  

Plan Development

During this person-centered process, the individual is regularly and actively involved in each stage, and he or she can terminate the process at any time. The transition process can take several months to complete before a person can move back into the community. This is important to ensure a safe and successful return.

Housing and Home Assessment

We assist consumers in finding affordable housing, determining the accessibility of existing housing, and identifying any helpful modification options available if barriers are found during a home assessment.

Support Services

We provide assistance in locating the necessary supports and services to help you remain in an independent living setting as long as possible. Services are provided once per transition as funding is available.

Contact us today to see if you qualify – 989-835-4041

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: May 18

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, help us celebrate the 12th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than one billion people with disabilities/impairments.

What is Digital Accessibility?

Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web. Someone with a disability must be able to experience web-based services, content and other digital products with the same successful outcome as those without disabilities. This awareness and commitment to inclusion is the goal of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a global event that shines a light on digital access and inclusion for people with disabilities.

The State of Digital Accessibility

In 2020, WebAIM analyzed one million home pages for accessibility issues an found that 98.1% had at least one accessibility error, things like

  • Low contrast text
  • Missing image alt text
  • Empty links
  • Missing form input labels
  • Empty buttons
  • Missing document language

All of these things impact the ability of people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive disabilities to understand the content.

Disability Network Mid-Michigan encourages designers, developers, usability professionals and everyone else to take an hour on May 18th to experience first-hand the impacts of digital accessibility, and help directly improve web accessibility and spread awareness.

Thunder in the Valley Games

The 15th annual Thunder in the Valley Games are scheduled for June 2nd – 4th at Bridgeport High School. This is a multi-sport competition and clinic environment for athletes with physical disabilities. The games are open to all athletes, regardless of age or ability. Proceeds from Thunder in the Valley Games will be used to help Michigan Sports Unlimited, Inc. (MSU) support its mission to educate, instruct, and provide unlimited access to a wide range of recreational activities in order to improve the physical, social, and mental well-being of individuals with disabilities and ultimately empower them to achieve success.

Schedule of Events

Register online or download, print and mail a registration packet.

The Americans With Disabilities Act Celebration Picnic: July 26th

Disability Network of Mid-Michigan and Personal Assistance Options invite you to join them for a community picnic celebrating the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On this day, we’ll celebrate this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools and transportation – ensuring that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

• WHEN •

Wednesday, July 26, from 4 – 7 pm


Heritage Park, 601 Weiss Street in Frankenmuth


• WHAT •

Live Music, Food, Fun and Games, and Accessible Recreation

We'll also have partner tables for organizations throughout the area providing valuable resources and information.

While registration is not required, knowing how many people plan to attend helps in our event planning and budgeting. Please take a quick moment to let us know how many people will be attending with you by using the button below.

I'll Register!

Former Senator Horn Joins the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance

Disability Network Mid-Michigan (DNMM) is pleased to see former Senator Horn continuing his service to our community. On May 1, he joins the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, serving as Executive Vice President, Strategic Development. His commitment to improving employment opportunities in our region is pivotal to people with disabilities, who continue to see higher unemployment rates. Horn’s efforts in the past have signified his interest in improving the quality of life in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Last year he was recognized by Disability Network Michigan as an Independent Living Champion. DNMM’s executive director, Kelly PeLong, noted “Senator Horn believes people with disabilities should have opportunities for independence, education and employment, and agrees that our communities are better when everyone is included.” We look forward to his success.

A Word of Thanks

As Executive Director, I would like to thank Michelle Ursuy for her dedication and commitment to the Board of Directors for Disability Network Mid-Michigan (DNMM) for the past six years. As a person with a disability, Michelle has represented our mission and vision of creating accessible and inclusive communities by attending DNMM events, supporting staff, and sharing our message and important work with others. She has even taken our mission back to her employer to try to make changes for people with disabilities and their families beyond our 12 counties. An important aspect of our agency is that at least 51% of our employees and Board of Directors are people with disabilities so we are truly representing those who might seek our assistance. Michelle has represented DNMM in a way that empowers and highlights the success of people with disabilities. Thank you, Michelle for lending your voice to our efforts.

Kelly L PeLong

Executive Director

Statement of Inclusion

Inclusion is a universal human right for all people, regardless of race, age, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or any other discernible quality. To be inclusive is to promote a sense of belonging, respect, and value for who you are as a person. It is about equal access and opportunities for everyone. Inclusion is an integral part of our Independent Living philosophy and of our agency's vision of accessible and inclusive communities.

DNMM offices have been, and continue to be, places of solace, understanding, and information for all. We are committed to promoting and protecting diversity and inclusion, within our offices, among our community partners, and throughout the 15 Centers for Independent Living in Michigan.

people of various ethnicities and abilities

Accessibility Statement

DNMM advocates for the removal of barriers to independence and full inclusion of people with disabilities throughout the Mid-Michigan area. DNMM pledges to ensure accessibility. Each year, DNMM conducts a review of its own architectural, environmental, attitudinal, employment, communication, transportation, and other barriers that may exist which prohibit full access to our services.

If you have any issues of concern regarding the accessibility of DNMM services and facilities, we encourage you to share that information with us.

Contact Us

Disability Network Mid-Michigan

989-835-4041 |

Facebook      Instagram      LinkedIn      YouTube